Winter finally decided to arrive Wednesday night. Mother Nature’s timing is impeccable. If you weren’t already suffering from “nosportitis,” it is probably setting in with a vengeance about now. The 3A state basketball tournament is complete and we’re in a lull until NCAA’s March Madness, baseball and the other spring sports begin. Sure we have the NBA and their abbreviated season and our country’s politics, which probably have more in common than we think.
The big sports headline Tuesday was interesting. Everyone has been waiting for the release of “The Big Miss,” written by Tiger Woods’ former swing coach Hank Haney. His “tell-all” book about the former No. 1 golfer in the land has revealed more than Tiger is happy with. One revelation from the book was Tiger thinking about walking away from the PGA Tour in the middle of his prime to become a Navy Seal. Tiger’s father was a Green Beret, so Tiger has knowledge and respect for the military way of life and its personal.
When asked about the revelation at the Honda Classic by Golf writer Alex Miceli, Tiger didn’t take it very well — in fact — he didn’t take it at all and ended the question with, “You’re a beauty, you know that?” followed by a stare down and Tiger’s proverbial diss, “Have a nice day.” Without a win since 2009, Tiger hasn’t had very many “nice-days” himself as the drama around his personal life continues to unravel. In addition to the gossip, he also is trying to find his golf swing again. Now, after losing three more tournaments, his putter has abandoned him as well, so he’s not a very happy golfer. I think Tiger has a bad case of “noputtitis” and is just as miserable, if not more so, than we are — with or without the book.
Good news and bad news from Ogden. The good news is the state of Utah has had the nation’s best point guard going on two years in a row. Last year it was Jimmer Fredette from BYU. This year it is Damian Lillard from Weber State. The bad news is the Wildcats suffered from “clutchphobia” and lost their regular-season finale and the Big Sky Conference Championship to the Montana Grizzlies, 66-51. Now we all may be infected with “Cantseehim” because the loss may have cost the Wildcats the opportunity for a national stage appearance and big screen time for Lillard during tournament play.
The Big Sky Tournament, which will award its champion with the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament, will be played on Montana’s home floor. That does not bode well for the Wildcats who were just blistered there by 15 points.
Lillard averaged 24.5 points a game with five rebounds this season and is a finalist for the Bob Cousy award, but no one knows he can play a serious game, because he plays for Weber State with limited television coverage. I hope the Wildcats can prevail against Montana at home, so the nation gets a chance to see Lillard light it up. He’s the real deal.
For all of you trudging through the football-less winter, spring ball is just around the corner. Utah, Utah State and BYU are boasting about their 2012 recruiting classes and are very optimistic about their chances in the Pac-12, WAC and Independency. BYU has Boise State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Utah and Oregon State on the schedule and thanks to NuSkin; they will also have two new LED video walls on each end of Lavell Edwards Stadium, not to mention the LED video ribbons across the top of each end zone. It will be a state-of-the-art season for the Cougars.
Southern Utah University will be moving to the Big Sky Conference this year and will be fighting it out with Weber State, creating another great in-state football rivalry. The Thunderbirds play Utah State for their season opener and then they travel to Berkley, Calif., and take on the Cal Golden Bears. After watching the T-Birds level UNLV in Las Vegas last season, I don’t think anyone will be taking SUU for granted this year.
A special tribute to our Tooele County High Schools’ basketball, swimming and wrestling squads, for another great season. We appreciate the hard work and sacrifices made by each of you, and we have enjoyed watching you grow and develop this year.
With baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, golf and track & field just around the corner, spring sports just may be the cure for all of us suffering from the many different strains of “Sports Flu” that have been circulating around this winter. Don’t let the lack of sports and last night’s storm get you down, spring and happier times are just around the corner. I’ll see you from the sidelines.